Lindsay is on the living room sofa practicing her Japanese. Amy just finished baking two pies for tomorrow’s quiet festivities. One pie is made from the remaining apples on our backyard tree that hang like yuletide balls on bent over branches. The other pie is made from the pumpkin that has been on our front porch since before Halloween. It escaped being hollowed out and eviscerated for Jack-o-lantern status, only to be chopped up and boiled for pie filling.
Outside the sky is full of indecision. Ragged clouds can’t decide whether to be stratus or cumulus right now, so they duke it out between bouts of blue. Long shadows lie along the Bookcliffs’ deep ridges. Snow is forecast for the high country but here on the Western Slope we are getting only wind and a mild threat of rain. The last autumn leaves cling tenaciously to sycamore and box elder. But the top of Grand Mesa is etched in white.
Tomorrow we will have roast duck instead of turkey. This has become a Grand Junction tradition for a family that doesn’t usually travel during the holidays, and has an affinity for dark meat. If the weather is reasonable, we may sneak in a short walk at the edge of town on the cusp of canyon country. In the afternoon I will replace the fall decorations with Christmas houses, and in the evening I will fire up the exterior holiday lites for the first time this year. Then, perhaps, we will find an appropriate movie to watch….something light and not too sentimental. Maybe an episode of Doctor Who.
Over the past decade we have made this our family tradition. It is a far cry from the exuberant Greek Thanksgivings of my youth but I have grown to like it nonetheless. Three people going about their business in Colorado at a pace to match the coming winter, and saying goodbye to that kindest of all seasons. And hunkering down against a world that seems so wrought with fear and paranoia. We salute ourselves, and our loved ones in other places…and we keep looking forward.